This is a wonderful dessert to add to your fall baking repertoire. The allspice gives it a warmth that is just right for the season, but the light, airy texture is a welcome break from the heaviness of the pies and cakes that are so prevalent this time of year.
For a dinner party, try serving it with a dollop of tangerine curd, whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
The next morning, it tastes even better with a little espresso, and my girls love having a slice for breakfast.
From the New York Times, originally appeared in March 1989
Makes 12 servings
1 ½ cups egg whites (approximately 11 extra-large eggs)
1 cup cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Set the egg whites out about one hour ahead. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour with a half cup of the sugar and the allspice. Sift four times. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and lemon juice together in an electric mixer on high speed, until they hold a soft peak. Begin adding the remaining one cup of sugar, a quarter cup at a time, until all the sugar is blended.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until it is completely incorporated. Give it a few extra folds just to be sure all the flour is really mixed in, but be careful not to over mix. Gently scoop the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan. Smooth the batter with the rubber scraper. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is dark golden brown.
When baked, remove the cake from the oven and invert it, with the pan at least an inch above the counter. If your pan doesn’t have metal feet to raise it an inch above the counter, then set the pan onto four inverted teaspoons or bowls. Remove the cake after it has completely cooled by slipping a fork down the side between the cake and the pan in several places. Once the cake is loosened, gently pull it out of the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with ice cream and fresh berries.